By Chris O’Donnell, April 27, 2015. On March 31, 2015 the US Treasury Department launched improvements to the USAspending.gov website, the cornerstone of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) of 2006. The Act requires the full disclosure to the public of all entities or organizations receiving federal funds beginning in FY07. Data for USAspending.gov orginates from three main sources: prime recipient entries to FFATA Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) on first-tier sub-recipients; Contracting Officer entries to the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG) and the respective agency’s award management system. In the case of USAID, its the Global Acquisition and Assistance System.
While there are concerns the USSpending.gov improvements limited the ability to: access how taxpayer dollars are spent in real time, search for keywords, and sort grants and contracts by date; the site can still provide valuable information for those conducting research, seeking USAID or other development funds. Despite the web site’s name, it stores department and agency financial obligations submitted within 30 days of the award obligation. For international development professionals seeking to search by keyword and sort grants by date, the information can be accessed at the Foreignassistance.gov and FPDS-NG websites. One of significant site limitations is the search restriction to one fiscal year when multiple spending types (contracts and grants) are selected. The site also has limited number of recipient subawards made under cooperative agreements and grants.
Interested parties can conduct two searches: award by state and advanced data search. The latter search selecting: spending type, fiscal year, place of performance and awarding agency, would provide all prime and subawards for a particular country. Click on a grant “Award ID” to provide transaction details such as: recipient, project award, action and principal place of performance. Click on “Go to Award Summary” to provide award overview, recipient information, recipient information, all transactions and all sub-awards. With the growing number of USG databases aimed to increase government transparency, USAspending.gov offers one of the best sources for organizations making decisions on capture management and business development.